Rahan is a Franco-Belgian School comic following the adventures of Rahan, a prehistoric caveman who wanders the earth, encountering a wide variety of tribes and challenges on his way.
Wherever he goes, Rahan carries his trademark ivory cutlass, and his collar — one comprising five claws, each one representing a virtue he tries to live up to: courage, loyalty, generosity, resilience, and wisdom. Nearly Once per Episode, Rahan figures out a new primitive technology to deal with with this issue's challenge.
Rahan provides examples of:
- The Ace: Rahan, while still only human, is pretty much at the top of his game, being smarter and a better fighter, tracker, hunter, runner, swimmer and all-around human being than most of the people he encounters.
- Animated Adaptation: Done in France in 1987, lasted one season.
- Artistic License Paleontology: Rahan regularly encounters dinosaurs. It's made even weirder by the fact that he also comes across regular paleolithic fauna such as mammoths and cave bears. The writers try to handwave the dinosaurs by repeatedly stating that they're leftovers from a bygone age, but it really just comes across as either carelessness or Rule of Cool.
- Bamboo Technology: Often literally. Including a phone network.
- Battlecry: "RAAAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!" He'll use it more often as a victory cry, though.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Most animals are called by their physical characteristics, such as fourhands for monkeys and longteeth for saber-toothed cats.
- Character Title
- Doing In the Wizard: Rahan often debunks superstitious beliefs he comes across, be they merely misinterpretations of natural events or the acts of manipulative shamans.
- Doomed Hometown: By a volcano, no less.
- Gag Penis: One short strip has Rahan captured by a tribe of hideous women (he thinks of them as part hyena). Faced with such a horrible fate, he arranges for his ivory knife to cast a very impressive shadow on the cave wall, which terrifies the women away.
- God Guise: Occasionally done by the villain of the issue. Rahan himself does this in one story, passing himself as a divine spirit in order to talk two warring tribes into coexisting peacefully (the ending narration mentions he intends to reveal the whole truth to them once peace is secure).
- The Hero: Rahan himself, very much so.
- I Am X, Son of Y: He will usually introduces himself as "Rahan, son of Crao".
- Improvised Lightning Rod: The eponymous caveman once defeats a Tyrannosaurus rex throwback by planting an iron spear into the dinosaur's head during a thunderstorm, thus attracting lightning and frying the T. rex. This scene is also present in the Animated Adaptation, including the opening credits.
- Loincloth: Rahan and all cavemen's sole clothing, naturally.
- Mighty Whitey: Rahan is the only pale-skinned blond man.
- Mushroom Samba: Rahan gets a nasty nightmare after eating some unknown mushrooms while starving after crossing a desert. At first he believes to be dead and to have reached the afterlife.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Despite all the Artistic License Paleontology, the comic is devoid of any obvious fantasy elements — in fact Rahan very often debunks any claim of magic in the setting. And then, an issue feature him lost in a bizarre world that he thinks at first is the afterlife, with completely fantastic monsters and inexplicable forces. Turns out this is all a dream caused by hallucenogenic mushrooms.
- Palate Propping: Rahan once manages this while bound hands and feet and offered in sacrifice to a big prehistoric crocodile. He catches a branch between his feet and wedges it between the croc's jaws, who then swims away rather miffed.
- Rent-a-Zilla: Forget dinosaurs, Rahan has even once been confronted to a Godzilla Captain Ersatz.
- Rousseau Was Right
- Science Hero: Windmills, bridges, rafts, and so many more... Rahan seems determined to single-handedly get humanity out of the stone age.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: In one story, Rahan comes across a tribe whose members all risk their lives at one point or another in failed attempts to recover an ancient secret of their ancestors, and have been doing so for many generations. Rahan applies his typical ingenuity to recover the lost secret... which turns out to be a way to make fire, which the tribe had discovered on their own during the intervening generations, making all their sacrifices pointless. Cue Rahan delivering an Aesop about how, while humans should pursue knowledge, they shouldn't do so heedless of the costs.
- Third-Person Person: Rahan and all other characters talk like this, being cavemen.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Rahan himself takes pride in never having killed a human being. In one issue, he suffers a Heroic BSoD when he believes he broke his own code.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: Rahan manages to kill one by planting a metal spear on its head during a thunderstorm, which then attracts lightning, frying the T. rex.
- Walking the Earth: Rahan is the prehistoric analog of The Drifter, wandering from place to place and righting wrongs.